“…there might be in nature other colors than those we know in our world. ”
Who was the first known person to speculate that there might be colors beyond that which we can see?
So far, it appears to be Emilie du Châtelet, in 1737.
She speculated, through experiment and logic, that light carries heat yet that light is separate from heat (she talks about fire) and gives the idea for Herschel’s experiment in 1800 that confirmed that infrared exists just beyond the rainbow of measuring light with thermometers.
She also writes:
The light of the Sun appears to be close to yellow, this means that the Sun must, by its nature, project more yellow rays than rays of other colors,
It is very possible that in other systems there may be Suns which, projecting more red, green rays, etc. than the basic colors of the Sun that we do see, might be different from ours, and that, lastly there might be in nature other colors than those we know in our world.
-Emile Du Chatelet, 1737, “Dissertation on the Nature and Propagation of Fire”
What amazes me is that _somebody_ – and this appears to be that somebody – was the first person to conceive of the idea that there *might* be colors beyond that which we can see.
I thought it was Herschel in 1800, who measured the heat of different colored lights through a prism… and then moved the thermometer just. a little. beyond.
That blew my mind. But then found out that he wasn’t the first to think of it… and that the person who *did* think of it is usually known as “Voltaire’s lover” and for bringing the “squared” part of what became e=mc2 much later, but the infrared connection was new to me.